Earlier in the week – during an acupuncture appointment – my provider asked a question that made me ponder:
“So, what does your down time look like these days?”
“Down time? What exactly do you mean?,” asking for clarification, half-jokingly.
His valid inquiry sent me into deep thought… My first vision was of last Saturday, kayaking with P at Pinecrest. It sure was relaxing in the beautiful environment; I wasn’t “connected” to the media world, but my body was active nonetheless.
I mentioned that occasionally I’ll soak up a few rays at the pool… while listening to IIN lectures. He implied that did not count, as he shook his head no.
I thought about watching three (eek!) hours of The Bachelorette finale with my roommate Monday night… but my computer was in my lap the entire time, switching between blog and IIN work…tweeting this, pinning that. Heck, I even took mini stretching and plank breaks. Three hours of sitting isn’t “allowed” in my book.
“Does talking on the phone to my boyfriend count?,” I asked. P and I chat on the phone most nights… though I can’t deny that I am often multitasking when catching up on each other’s day. Tuesday night, my phone smooshed between my ear and my right shoulder, I hustled around the kitchen at 9:00pm whipping up a double batch of almond meal zucchini muffins; the tea pot on high to prep my morning iced coffee, a load of laundry in the washing machine.
The acupuncture’s simple question made me realize that there are rarely any still, quiet moments in my everyday life. As a Type A, ambitious young woman with an endless list of things I want to accomplish, my brain never shuts off. I’m swimming through the pool of my goals and aspirations with purpose that I rarely come up for a breath of air. While exercise may be “me time” and a “stress reliever”, I am more or less in “flight or fight mode” using my sympathetic nervous system as I am swinging my kettlebell and slamming sandbags.
I got a quick lesson during my acu appointment: If your sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems are not in balance, then you will encounter disharmony in you body. My sympathetic nervous system is on overdrive most hours of the day, minimizing the ability of my parasympathetic system to do its thing… hence, the current digestive distress I’m experiencing.
To me, it is always about productivity — when it’s not my corporate wellness to-do list, then it’s my blogging editorial calendar; it’s my non-stop IIN curriculum; it’s my exercise regimen and training; it’s maintaining a distance relationship; it’s ordering new contact lenses; it’s setting up a brokerage account; it’s calling the Comcast guy; it’s Instagramming my run, it’s on-going e-mail exchanges…
Our bodies can not sustain the busy-bee syndrome. Unfortunately, it is ingrained in the American culture so much so that we fail to recognize its effects on our internal system. I am not quite sure how I will schedule (pun intended) “down time” into my life, but I know it involves less multiasking, more mat time, less screen time, more zzz’s, less thinking, and more nature…
What does “down time” look like to you?
Do you mediate? Read? Hit the mat?
How often do you have “down time”?
Shortly after writing this, I randomly stumbled upon another blogger’s version of what I just wrote – written oh so gracefully. Our message could not be more synchronized.